Healthy Crock Pot Recipes: Calico Beans

This Calico Beans recipe packs a punch when it comes to protein. In my household of men, this is much appreciated. Oh, who am I kidding? I may be the only girl in my household, but give me a bowl of beans, beef, and bacon, and I’m a happy camper. I love me a high protein meal! If all the boys in the house enjoy it too, well now, that’s just a huge perk. :)

Add some chopped sweet green peppers, or even a few chunks of spicy peppers to this recipe if your family enjoys a little “kick”.


Calico BeansYum

Healthy Crock Pot Recipes: Calico Beans
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces turkey bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion (or 4 Tablespoons minced onion)
  • ¼ cup sucanat
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 - 15 ounce cans baked beans (I use Eden Organics, full of healthy ingredients)
  • 1 - 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • ¾ cup ketchup (I recommend homemade ketchup or an organic variety that does not contain high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (I use either red wine or balsamic)
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, brown bacon, ground beef, and onions together.
  2. Drain and dump into a crock pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until mixed.
  4. Cover and cook on low for six hours or on high for three hours.
  5. Or, skip the crock pot and bake this in a covered casserole dish at 350° for an hour.

Of course, you’ll save even more money if you soak and cook your own beans. Read more about this process here.

Calico Beans

I know everyone is different when it comes to craving meat and high protein meals.  Are you like me and feel like you could eat a half a cow sometimes? Or are you content with a small bowl of beans and the occasional peanut? 

Interested in more Crock Pot recipes? You’ll find several to look through here!

Comments

  1. Deanna says

    Yum! That looks amazing! I like beans, the husband not so much. Most of the time I’m fine not eating a lot of meat but everyone in a while I just need a burger!

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  2. Mandy says

    It looks DE-LISH! Does it taste anything like chili or more like baked beans? I can’t get an idea between the picture and the ingredients:)

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    Laura Reply:

    It’s more like baked beans with lots o’ meat!

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  3. Denise says

    Definitely a “half a cow” kind of girl! This recipe sounds fantastic, except I’d use my own beans I canned … and probably moose meat. Gotta work with what you have! :)

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  4. Andrea says

    This recipe has been in my husband’s family for years! I make it for us now. It smells so good cookin’ in the slow cooker. Yum! Definitely a great fall meal.

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  5. kelly says

    got some kidney beans in the crock pot right now to make some chili tomorrow. (using ground turkey) normally we use red meat, but we are trying to eat healthier and swapping out a meal here and there. (just tried eggplant parmesan and we loved it….our entire family. (only 2 girls and 4 boys, guys liked it too. )

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  6. Cathy B. says

    This sounds so good, I’m going to make it for dinner tomorrow or Friday! My family likes protein, too, so this should be a winner.

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  7. Jennifer Blaine says

    I do a very similar dish we call hamburger beans. I add in a can of rotel and minus the bacon and pork and beans. This is great with some sweet cornbread!

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  8. Sally McQuaid says

    We used to eat a lot of meat. were now trying to be more concious where out meat comes from and how the animals lived.. so its a lot more beans, eggs, etc for protein. Thanks for the great recipe.

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  9. Mary N. says

    My kind of meal. I’ve never tried the turkey bacon in it. Just the hamburger. Will have to try it. Thanks for the recipe.

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  10. Tami says

    If it’s in the form of a hamburger, I could eat half a cow. :D If it’s in casseroles, I prefer the meat to be in a smaller amount, or at least in little bitty crumbles not huge chunks. Like on pizza, little crumbles are good. :D

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  11. Erin S says

    My mouth is watering looking at your picture. I love beans! This is going on my list for next week’s meals. Thank you.

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  12. says

    I don’t have a huge preference for meat over beans or vice versa … enjoy them both. Pinto beans w/cornbread and slaw is a regular meal in our house … I love it with green tomato chow chow :)

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  13. Darla M says

    This sounds delicious! I’m surprised to see you using canned beans, though. Is there a brand of pork n beans that you trust? How about the kidney beans?

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    Laura Reply:

    I typically soak and cook my own beans…but it’s soccer season, and I’m tired. :) I like Eden Organic beans for quick meals like this. :)

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    Darla M Reply:

    It’s cross country season in our house, so I feel ya! My crockpots have been getting a workout lately! I will look for the Eden brand. Thank you!

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  14. says

    This LOOKS DELICIOUS. I was just searching for more crock-pot recipes too. GREAT TIMING!!!
    Depending on the day. Some days all I want is a big leafy green salad with some vinegar dressing and lots of veggies. But occassionally I crave some meat.

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  15. Karen says

    Wow! I am working on my new menu/grocery shopping plan, and this recipe is going on it! It will be great for lunch at church on Sunday. Thanks so much for sharing! And, I do tend to slack off on protein a lot – I’m a fruit and veggie girl, who also struggles with anemia off and on. Maybe I need to eat like this more???

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    Laura Reply:

    Hmm, yes, I do wonder if you need more meat in your diet. I struggle with anemia for sure when I don’t eat enough!

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  16. Allison says

    I love meat! And especially love protein for breakfast. What about making this with stew meat in the crockpot? Hmmmm. I think I’m going to give it a try!

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  17. Heather says

    Perfect timing for this recipe! I have everything to try it out tonight! I like baked beans and I like chili. I also like cow. Never tried to eat a half of one yet… but the thought doesn’t sound too scary. Thanks for all you do, Laura.

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  18. Ann Marie says

    Looks like a wonderful recipe – will definitely add this to my crockpot line up. I alway crave meat/protein and notice my kids seem to have more energy and are more attentive when they’ve had a meal with lean protein.

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  19. Rhoda says

    We love beans at our house. I’ve got some beans soaking right now for supper tonight. Your recipe sounds pretty good. Will have to try it our some time soon. Thank you for sharing it!

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  20. Lynette says

    Surprised to see canned beans in this recipe ;)

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    Laura Reply:

    Me too. :) I typically soak and cook my own beans…but it’s soccer season, and I’m tired. :) I like Eden Organic beans for quick meals like this. :)

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  21. Anita Peoples says

    This is similar to my recipe which I’m always asked to share. It tastes even better with potato salad. I’m left hanging high if I don’t serve the two together!! ;)

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  22. Barbara says

    I hope this isn’t a repeat question, but I didn’t have time to look through all the comments. I make a dish very similar to this, but I always consider it as a side dish. But you’re right, it is a high protein meal. Do you serve it as a main dish? What do you serve with it? I think I’m going to change it to a main dish and serve it with rolls & fruit to round it out!

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    Laura Reply:

    I definitely serve this as a main dish, with sliced fresh fruit and maybe biscuits or cornbread on the side. :)

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  23. Darcey says

    I also have a similar dish. We call it cowboy stew. My son loves it. I am always looking for more bean recipes. I know they are healthy and have lots of protein, but most bean recipes have mexican spices and flavors. My family (husband) does not like it. Thanks for another recipe to try.

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  24. Sarah Sanders says

    I am the only one in my family who likes beans, but I’m going to try this recipe-maybe this will be the magical recipe that converts my husband and boys into bean-likers! ;-)

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  25. says

    We are protein lovers too…we could never be completely vegetarian! And I’ve eaten this dish (very similar anyway) for years. We called it Bean Burger Bake. Yum.

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  26. Cassie Musick says

    I love beans, but I do not eat beef or bacon. I usually make chili with a variety of beans (no meat) or crumble tofu into the beans. I also add diced jalapeños, onions, garlic, and I top it with cheese.

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  27. Misty M. says

    I also would like to know how you would substitute for the pork and beans as we don’t do pork?

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    Rebecca Reply:

    I would just use a can of regular beans, plus a little brown sugar for sweetness and a drop or two of liquid smoke to get that smokey flavor of bacon.

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    Laura Reply:

    I’d just sub red beans. :)

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  28. Linda says

    This sounds good except for the pork and beans. I don’t do pork either. My husband has lost 20 lbs. this year by following a low carb diet. I think he will like this recipe. I think high protein meals keep you from getting hungry quickly after a meal. Thanks for sharing.

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    Laura Reply:

    You can just sub red beans if you prefer.

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  29. Rebecca says

    I’m surprised at the turkey bacon, that stuff is nasty. How about regular bacon or salt pork instead, or just regular beans plus a little molasses and liquid smoke?

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    Laura Reply:

    I like the Applegate Turkey Bacon I get from Azure Standard.

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  30. Barbara says

    Too bad fall is at least a month or two away for those of us in Fl. Luckily, I know where to find this recipe when it finally gets here.

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  31. Ashley says

    I’ll have to figure out how to make this without using canned beans..hmm

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    Laura Reply:

    I’d just use soaked and cooked red beans instead of both of the canned beans and it would be just as good!

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    Ashley Reply:

    thanks!

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  32. Mindy says

    I grew up with a very similar recipe for Calico Beans and just seeing the name of today’s post made me salivate. They were always a favorite and now they are for my husband and boys too. Glad more people get to be informed of such a GREAT dish! I’ve sometimes taken it to pot-lucks after baking it instead of putting it in the crock pot or on the stove as a baked bean-like dish. It’s always a big hit.

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  33. Kathleen Davis says

    If I start out with beans and meat I won’t add canned pork and beans with extra sugar etc…

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    Laura Reply:

    You could just add red beans if you prefer. I use Eden Organics Pork and Beans and am very happy with their ingredients.

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  34. Teresa says

    I love calico beans and have made them for years, they are wonderful to cook in the crockpot and take to church functions!

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  35. Amy says

    I love calico beans! The best thing is that you can make them ahead and throw them in the crock-pot. Thanks for bringing them to mind…I’ll have to add this to my menu for next month.

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  36. Jessie says

    With a little planning, i reduce the cost of this meal even more by using dry beans! Oh, and add a 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

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  37. says

    This looks good! Can you cut down or even eliminate the meat if need be? At least sometimes? The budget is very tight these days.

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you could definitely just do this with the beans and it’ll still taste great!

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  38. Jen says

    What would you use if you didn’t use the baked beans? Do they give a distinct flavor? Thanks! This looks yummy…and simple!

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    Laura Reply:

    No problem to leave those out. Or you could just add red beans instead.

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  39. Lisa says

    Perfect timing with this recipe! I’m a nursing mama just back to work, which means I’m short on time to cook and needing healthy, protein-packed food for my husband and me. I love me some protein, although that could just be because for the last year I’ve either been pregnant or nursing and craving protein!

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  40. Julie H says

    We love these at our house…we call them Chuckwagon beans or Cowboy beans. They are so good served with some hot cornbread! Can’t wait to pull out my crockpot this fall and make some. Yum!

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  41. Jocelyn says

    It’s still not cool enough here for fall recipes but I’m thinking I could use the crock pot and make this, woo hoo!

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  42. Nicole says

    Made this for supper last night and it was a hit! Only the baked beans in it turned to mush after cooking for a while. Do yours do that after a while too? Either way, this recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

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    Kari Reply:

    I did mine in the oven for an hour instead of crock pot and the beans were fine. Maybe less time in the crockpot if the beans got mushy?

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  43. Kari says

    Haven’t had since I was a kid. Doubled plus some extra beans to stretch it tonight for us and for a friend whose husband had surgery last week. It tasted great and my kids gobbled it up. Glad I stumbled upon your recipe Laura. Bookmarking this one!

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  44. Jen says

    What do you normally serve with this? Do you eat this like a soup as a main dish?

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    Betty Stewart Reply:

    Main dish with cornbread or baked bread. Cole slaw would be good with it too if you want a side.

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